Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. And, most unfortunately, the broom cupboard's not mine, either. I might be able to claim the idea of kissing to relieve certain kinds of monthly stress, because I came up with it all by myself, but I'm sure someone thought of it before me.
Once again, I must praise Aibhinn, who is a kind, generous, and loving beta.
"Ginny's having a bad day," said Ron as he sat down in between Harry and Hermione in Charms.
"Oh," said Harry. "What's wrong?"
"She's just… having a bad day." Ron glanced at Hermione cautiously.
"Must be going around," Hermione snapped, before turning back to her textbook.
Ron looked back at Harry, who shrugged. Sometimes, thought Harry, I just don't get girls.
Harry headed down the corridor after class alone. Ron had decided a trip to their favorite broom cupboard was just the thing needed to cheer Hermione up, and Harry secretly hoped he was right. He had agreed to meet his two best friends later in the Great Hall for lunch, and was currently taking the roundabout way there, through the dungeons.
Which might have something to do with the fact that the fifth year Gryffindors had just gotten out of Potions.
Although Harry also secretly wished he could cheer Ginny up by way of a visit to a broom cupboard, he was hoping he'd be able to accomplish the task by making her laugh and other such friendly things.
Because that's what we are, Harry thought bitterly to himself. Just friends.
"Go to hell, Malfoy!" spat the voice he loved. Ginny must really be having a bad day; she never let Malfoy get to her.
As Harry rounded the corner he fought the urge to attack Malfoy and his goons, who, seeming to have missed the opportunity to tease Ron, were taking out their frustrations by picking on Ron's younger sister. Instead, he focused on the more important individual and, taking Ginny by the arm, led her away while glaring at Draco Malfoy.
"Ooh, look, little Weaslette has to be saved by her boyfriend, famous Harry Potter, once again!"
Harry ignored Malfoy and spoke quietly to Ginny as they walked away: "Are you ok? Ron said you were having a bad day. Hermione was, too, so he decided to drag her off to a broom cupboard to cheer her up. Hehe—heh."
Ginny wasn't laughing. She wasn't looking at Harry, either; her eyes were trained on the floor. Harry wondered if she had even heard him.
Frustrated with his failed attempts to cheer Ginny, he stopped walking altogether and tugged at her arm to stop her, too, so he could ask her in earnest what was wrong. Unfortunately, his movement seemed to startle Ginny, and she gasped as she flung her arms out, sending her books and papers flying.
She immediately dropped to her knees on the floor, starting to gather her scattered belongings. Harry, cursing his stupidity, hurried to help her.
"Oh Gin, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean—here, let me—" Was that a sniff? Ginny sniffed again. Oh God. Oh NO. She's crying.
Harry renewed his efforts to gather the papers with added fervor, but people were already starting to stare. He glared at them as he shifted Ginny's books into one arm, helping her up with the other. What now? Harry put his free arm around Ginny's back, and she leaned into him and sobbed onto his shoulder. Harry panicked.
He led Ginny down the hall, trying to find a private place to help Ginny collect herself, shooting daggers at anyone who dared look at them. Finally he spotted a door—Oh please, please be an empty classroom, thought Harry as he fought the door open, balancing his bag and Ginny's books on one arm and Ginny on the other.
No such luck, he realized once they were inside the broom cupboard. Harry was now beyond panic.
"Uh, Ginny, I really didn't mean…" But Ginny was still crying into his chest; she seemed blissfully unaware of their surroundings. With a sigh of defeat, Harry dropped the books and his bag on the floor and put his other arm around Ginny, who responded by crying harder, gripping the front of his robes with her hands.
At this point, I could use a little comforting myself. Harry let himself sink into Ginny; it felt so good to hold her, even if she was crying. She slid her hands up and around his neck, pulling him closer, pressing her face into his neck. Eventually the sobbing subsided and was replaced by small sniffles that sent shivers down Harry's spine as they tickled his neck.
Harry ignored this and tried to forget that he was holding the girl of his dreams in his arms in a very private broom cupboard, and focus instead at the task at hand: cheering Ginny up. Except that he couldn't think of anything to cheerful to say. He couldn't think of anything to say at all. He couldn't think. Hell, he was having difficulties breathing.
Ginny solved this problem by pulling back slightly—to Harry's disappointment—and letting out a shaky laugh.
"This is so stupid," she sniffed. "I hate being this emotional." She looked up at him shyly. "Sorry about the crying, Harry." She gave him a small smile.
"It's all right," he said, meaning it, as relief flooded though him. Emotional Ginny was much easy to deal with than emotional Cho. In fact, that problem seemed to have solved itself. Sure, it might not always be this easy to deal with, but again, maybe then I'll have an excuse to try Ron's theory out.
"It's just… it's just been a tough day." Ginny explained. She lifted up one of her hands to wipe at her eyes. Harry resisted the urge to do this with his own hands, consoling himself by leaving them tightly holding her waist.
"I know what you mean."
Ginny looked as though she was about to contradict him, but changed her mind. She stared at him thoughtfully and after a moment said, "You know, it's a good thing that you don't, on top of everything else, have to deal with being a girl, too."
Harry felt himself redden as the meaning of what she had just said dawned on him. "Erm," was all he could say.
"Oh, I guess I shouldn't have said that," Ginny gave an embarrassed laugh. "It just came out." She let out another giggle, looking more like herself as she glanced up at Harry with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Harry swallowed his embarrassment. "Ok, so maybe I don't know exactly how you feel, but you're laughing, so at least you've cheered up."
At this Ginny laughed again and leaned forward to put her arms back around his neck. "Thanks for taking care of me."
Harry allowed himself to return the hug, tightening his arms around his waist. "Anytime." Of their own accord, his fingers began tracing a pattern on her back through her hair.
"You're the best, Harry." Ginny pulled back slightly and grinned at him, ruffling his hair, and gave him a peck on the cheek.
Harry felt his whole body stiffen. It was amazing, what she could do to him just by putting her lips on his cheek. He wanted, so badly, to find out what would happen if he really kissed her.
Impulsively, without fully realizing what he was doing, he leaned forward and pressed his lips against her cheek.
Ginny seemed to freeze. Harry was terrified that he'd crossed some line. He had, after all, dragged her into a broom cupboard while she was not fully aware of what was happening. He studied her face for a clue; Ginny, her mouth slightly open, dropped her gaze to Harry's lips.
Her eyes were back on his. Harry realized that his face was moving slowly closer to hers. Is this really happening? he asked himself, but didn't have time to consider it before it happened.
His lips were on hers. And she responded by kissing him back with enthusiasm. Harry ran his tongue across Ginny's lips, and she opened her mouth slightly. Her hands moved from his neck to his hair as the kiss intensified. He pulled her closer against him, and was vaguely aware that he was pinned between Ginny and the wall. It was a marvelous feeling.
Ginny tore her mouth away from his, but there was no room for complaint; Harry was drowning in pleasure as she flicked her tongue across his ear, kissed her way down his jaw, and nuzzled his throat. He captured her lips again with his, distracting her, then gave her reciprocal treatment until he was distracted himself.
"Mmm, I think Ron may be onto something," Ginny purred several minutes later, giving Harry a wicked smile.
He grinned back and brushed a lock of hair out of her face. "Are you planning on having more bad days anytime soon? I'd be glad to cheer you up."
"How about," Ginny said, looking into his eyes, "every day for the rest of my life?"
"Sounds like a plan," Harry answered, leaning down to seal it with a kiss.